Qualifying: Another Red Bull lock-out

Stephan Heublein

After all the controversy surrounding the ban on hot exhaust gases going into the diffuser and the final ruling that the regulation change would indeed apply, Saturday's qualifying was eagerly awaited. Naturally, everyone wanted to see if Red Bull were about to lose their dominance. Despite a few rain drops that somewhat distorted the picture, the answer has to be yes. Because operating under similar conditions, Ferrari in particular were able to get much closer to Red Bull.

Pole position was still heading Red Bull's way, but exceptionally, Mark Webber prevailed against reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel. Fernando Alonso in third place was little more than a tenth of a second adrift, a gap that has never been so close in the last couple of seasons, and Felipe Massa wasn't too far behind either. At the same time, the two Ferraris opened up a clear lead on McLaren. Jenson Button had to be content with fifth place, while Paul di Resta and Pastor Maldonado were the surprise packages in sixth and seventh.